NFL Pretenders And Contenders

We are about two months deep into the NFL season and have a large enough of a sample size to determine what to think of each team. With TV ratings down, some people are pointing to the lack of great teams in the NFL as a reason why viewership is down. When you look across the league, these critics aren’t far off. Here are the real contenders and pretenders at the halfway point in the season.

Absolute Contenders

New England Patriots
Dallas Cowboys
Really no surprise here. The Patriots are by far the best team in the NFL. Tom Brady looks exactly how we all imagined, as the Pats have outscored opponents 136-71 in Brady’s four games back.

Right Under

Atlanta Falcons
Denver Broncos
Minnesota Vikings
Oakland Raiders
Seattle Seahawks
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The Patriots are the Super Bowl favorite at this point, but that doesn’t mean they are the only team that doesn’t believe they will have a long playoff run. The Cowboys seem to be very legit, as their six-game winning streak is no fluke, with wins against the Packers, Bengals, and Eagles. The Vikings and Broncos have put together impressive defenses which has always proven to be more valuable come playoff time. When healthy, the Steelers have one of the most potent offenses in the league and will be a team no one will want to face in January. The Falcons look more mature and should be able to sustain their success throughout the season, and the Seahawks will have the chance to make a run in the NFC if they can position themselves to host playoff games.

Playoff Contenders

Arizona Cardinals
Pittsburgh Steelers
Green Bay Packers


The Cardinals and and Packers have some of the most talented rosters in the league but have been plagued by inconsistent play. They are very capable of pulling off a winning streak and would be scary to play if they get hot at the right time. The Raiders have taken major steps forward this season, as Derek Carr is developing into one of the league’s best quarterbacks. Raiders tickets are now becoming a must buy in the Bay Area, but let’s see if they can say consistent in the second half of the season before putting them with the top-tier teams.

On The Bubble

Carolina Panthers
Cincinnati Bengals
Kansas City Chiefs
New Orleans Saints
New York Giants

Buffalo Bills
Philadelphia Eagles
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Washington Redskins
The Chiefs sit at 5-2 eight weeks into the season, but it’s hard to put them over the Raiders and Broncos in their own division. The Bengals are their typical selves, some weeks looking like a playoff team and then at times playing like they don’t deserve to be in the conversation. The Giants and Saints have plenty of offensive talent but haven’t played to their potential. The Eagles have shown they can compete, but may need a few more pieces to consider themselves a playoff team. The Bucs are competitive and need to put together a multiple game win streak if they want to be in the playoff race. The defending NFC Champion Carolina Panthers may only have two wins at this point, but you can’t deny their talent and have the ability to finish the season with 10 wins. The Redskins showed last season they have the talent to make the playoffs.

In Their Own Category

Houston Texans
The Texans are once again beneficiaries to the weakest division in all of football. For a second year in a row, the Texans should win the AFC South and host a playoff game.

Not This Year

Baltimore Ravens
Detroit Lions
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars
Los Angeles Rams
New York Jets
Miami Dolphins
San Diego Chargers
Tennessee Titans
Some of these teams like the Jets and and Colts were popular picks to reach the playoffs this season but have had very weak performances in the first half of the season. The Ravens, Dolphins, Rams, Jaguars, Lions, and Bills were thought to maybe make some noise this season, but only showed small glimpses of being able to compete at a high, consistent level. The Titans and Chargers have had wins in primetime, but don’t have the overall talent to compete week in and week out.

#1 Overall Pick Sweepstakes

Cleveland Browns
San Francisco 49ers
Chicago Bears
These three teams are no doubt the bottom dwellers of the NFL this season. They have a combined record of 2-20 and show little sign of positivity. All three desperately need new franchise quarterbacks and will definitely be sending more and more scouts to Clemson games.